Over the last few months and more so the last few weeks leading up to the
marathon I have been reading your website and following the very helpful
tips as well as reading the London Marathon Forums.
As this was my first
London Marathon they helped massively as I was full of mixed feelings
towards the last week or so building up to the big day. I have always
watched the event on television in the years before in envy but fortunately
I was chosen this year as part of the extra 1000 places that was on offer
after the initial draw, so I considered myself to be very lucky and aimed to
enjoy as much of the experience as I could with the intention of achieving a
fairly good time as well.
I came in around 3 hours 45mins and as my initial
aim was to conquer 4 hours I have achieved my goal. I started the race in
zone 5, 1 ahead of my allocated zone, purely because it was fairly empty and
zone 6 was very heavily congested.
I think that my best moment excluding
the finish was when I actually crossed the starting line as only then did I
realise how lucky I was to be included in one of the greatest running events
in the year. Prior to that it never really sank in what I was hoping to
achieve on April 18th 2004.
My worst moment came in the 24th mile when at mile 21 I decided that I would
pick up the pace a little and head home. I felt I could keep the pace going
but every mile from then seemed about 10. Just before I reached the 24 mile
marker my legs began to suffer and I decided that I would walk but only for
about 50 metres allowing myself the chance to gather my thoughts and compose
myself again, I didn’t want to stiffen up as well so kept the walk short.
During this time I thought about the pain I was going through compared to
others not as fortunate as me and from then I started with a slow jog to get
back into it and push it as hard as I could to the line. It was a struggle
but with the crowds shouting my name and cheering us all on the adrenaline
kicked in and carried me home for a final sprint to the line. I think that
my time would have been very much slower if the crowds were not as they
were. The uplift that they created from the masses of support out there was
incredible, the noise alone numbed the pain in my legs and I felt like I
could go on forever.
I still remember seeing a small child about half way
through the race and he put his hand up saying 'High five James', I ran past
him without a chance to give the high five back as I saw him late, I wished
I had seen him earlier as receiving support like that was something else and
would have loved to have shown my appreciation. Seeing my family also was
an amazing experience and having my brother chasing after me on the pavement
trying to take a picture of me was a great addition to the sensation.
Now that all the training and hard work has paid off and the marathon is
complete I will be looking to enter a few shorter distance races and see if
I can beat my time next year as I will certainly be doing it again. The
experience was nothing that I have ever felt before and has given me a drive
to complete other marathons around the world in time, but for now i'm
looking forward to the next one!! I will certainly push my friends and
family into entering next year because it’s a feeling that only running the
event can explain.
Plus a massive thankyou must go to all the volunteers that made this event
run the way it did. They were great and made sure that I said thank you to
every one at the drinks stations as they deserved it.
Right, now going to aim to walk up three steps, have a relaxing bath then
get back to my 12,000-word dissertation that needs to be completed for